Record numbers of cut-price new cars are being imported from Europe by British dealers and Internet retailers in order to meet the growing demand of buyers wanting ‘cheaper cars today, not tomorrow’, according to an investigation by independent monitor, says that on an average day, dealer forecourts and virtual showrooms are home to 5,000-6,000 imported models being offered with ‘Immediate Delivery’ to bargain hungry buyers – a number that equates to £15m worth of savings over UK list prices.

CarPriceCheck believes this figure could rise to as high as 9,000 during the last weekend in August as the market prepares for the new registration plate change on September 1.

The company says that the most abundant imported models visible on the UK forecourts are from Audi, BMW, Ford, Land Rover, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Such is the current wave of demand that the number of unsold imports arriving in the UK everyday has risen by 40-45% during the past twelve months according to Steve Evans, chief executive of CarPriceCheck.

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He said: “People want the best of both worlds – cheaper cars that they can drive away today not tomorrow. An increasing number want the deals on offer from Europe but without the sometimes-lengthy wait.

“As a result car supermarkets, Internet retailers and traditional dealers have been bulk ordering more and more popular models from the Continent before actually finding a UK buyer for them. Retailers are simply taking the initiative in bigger numbers now. This is an entirely consumer driven trend.”

“The only downside for the consumer is that you can’t be too picky about the colour, trim and options as you would if you bought a Build To Order import or bought through the franchised dealer network. Colour does, however, become superfluous when you’re saving £5,000 off a new Land Rover!”

Despite manufacturer controls, the practice is not limited to independent traders with an increasing number of franchised dealers looking at capturing a slice of the market. “Dealers have been quick to realise that import sales need to form part of their business even before the EU officially changes to the way cars are sold across the Continent. The forward-thinkers realise they can attract buyers by trading on the traditional customer back-up and service support they are able to offer as a franchised dealership,” says Evans.